S Dwarkanath, Mysore
“Your friend Satyanarayana has become a Swamiji, I went and paid my respects, you also go and do the same,” I did not pay any attention to this talk so she hit me on the head.
If we keep talking about His Life History it will be never ending, because Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji is a divine being. In around 1960, I befriended a young Brahmin boy, Satyanarayana, and later we became very good friends, as bosom buddies. His aunt, Parvatamma, was running a school in the locality of Kesare. As there was no electricity in the area at that time, I would help her out when she had evenings program by setting kerosene lanterns for lighting. Just as we have a priest in different temples, Satyanarayana was officiating as a priest in Kesare. We were all calling Him to do priestly duties. People were just calling Him by the name Satyanarayana. He would come, do the pooja, distribute the prasadam and go away.
In Kesare, we used to celebrate the Ganapathy festival in a grand manner. Satyanarayana performed the poojas as requested by us. The celebrations would last for eight to fifteen days. We used to borrow a cart from the electricity department and placed some tires on it to make a platform. We would then place the Ganapathy idol on top of it and place a small stool for Satyanarayana to sit on the cart. With excitement and jubilation we used to take this cart in a procession going through Narasimharaja, Mohalla and Kesari.
Families from different houses would come out with an aarti plate and coconuts. The coconuts that were offered by them were broken in front of the idol and both things would be given to Satyanarayana. He would perform aarti and the plates were given back to the families. We did this Ganapathy pooja and carried out the procession for two to three years. Afterwards, He would immerse the Ganapathy idol in a pond in a mango grove on Mysore-Bangalore road.
Once, while doing this, He called me and said “Dwarka, from next year I will not be doing this, I didn’t believe in this.” I said “What Satya, whom are you telling this, you will definitely come next year.” He was pretty sure that whatever He was saying would happen. Since He was a Brahmin boy we used to do namaskaram to Him and go.
After some time, my mother told me Satyanarayana had shifted from Parvatamma’s house to Srikantayya’s house in Kesare Electric Board Colony. My parents are Sarojamma and Srinivasa Naidu. Srikantayya was a wireman in the electricity board residing in KEB colony. He was given a government quarter measuring approximately twenty feet by thirty feet. Satyanarayana moved in there with Srikantayya. My mother told me “Your friend Satyanarayana has become a Swamiji, I went and paid my respects, you also go and do the same,” I did not pay any attention to this talk so she hit me on the head.
Many times my friends and I used to go and play football in St. Philomena’s playground. One day after the game was over we went to see Satyanarayana. He was sitting in a very relaxed manner and someone had brought kesari-bhaat in a tiffin box and offered it to Him. There were about twenty-five persons gathered around Him and He was giving out the kesari-bhaat to one and all. I did not want to go and take it because they were doing namaskaram to His Feet and receiving the prasadam. All my friends went and got the prasadam. As I did not want to offer my pranaam I tasted a little bit from each of my friends share. It was really tasty, then I went and did pranaam to His feet and I also got the kesari-bhaat prasadam.
Before receiving the prasadam, Satyanarayana said “Dwarka, you do not have any faith, you are doing this only for the sake of receiving the kesari-bhaat” Then He gave me a good quantity of kesari-bhaat. I brushed off His comments and went and stood in a corner watching whatever was going on. After some time He called a boy named, Ashoka, to take the empty tiffin box and keep it near the Ganapathy picture, in the room. After sometime a few more people arrived seeking His darshan, He asked the boy to go and bring back the tiffin box. Satyanarayana opened the lid of the box and again it was full of kesari-bhaat; I could not believe this; nobody had gone inside to fill it up.
Previously, He had distributed the kesari-bhaat to everyone and almost everything was gone, now it was full again. This made me wondered if He was a magician. Then, I observed a boy who came with a glass of milk and offered it to Satyanarayana, He drank the milk first then He asked the boy to extend his hand and poured the remaining milk into his hand. I wondered how Satyanarayana could give milk that He had already touched. Anyway, along with the milk a Ganapathy coin also fell into the boy’s hand, I was amazed to see this; now I also wanted to own a coin like that. I thought, along with my football uniform; white shorts and black top, a Ganapathy coin hanging from a chain around my neck would look very nice.
I went and extended my arm and said, “Aye Satyanarayana, give me a coin also.” He said, “Do not call me Satya, I can’t give you one.” I asked Him, “Why”, but He said come tomorrow morning and cut some firewood into small pieces for the Homa ceremony. I agree to do so, went home and told my mother about it, she was immensely happy. In those days I was loafing and not doing anything worthwhile, instead I used to steal coconuts from some houses or lemons from someone’s yard. By evening people would come with complaints to my father who would beat me, although I was around fifteen years old. Now my mother was happy that I was going to do some work for Satyanarayana.
The distance between our house and Srikantayya’s house could be covered in a matter of five minutes. With enthusiasm, the next morning I got up went to Srikantayya’s house. Satyanarayana and Srikantayya were sitting in front of a kerosene stove making coffee. Satyanarayana showed me the firewood which has to be cut into small pieces. He gave me a sharp tool to break them, there were only about five pieces so I cut them into small pieces quickly, Satyanarayana offered me some coffee which I refused saying “Give me the Ganapathy coin.” I was very restless and had no patience. Satyanarayana said, “Extend your hand.”
I remembered the previous day’s incident of the milk so I said “Do not give me the coffee you have already tasted and is left over” Swamiji again said “Will you extend your hand or not,” then I immediately extended my hand and He dropped a Ganapathy coin into it and said “Keep this in a safe place, you don’t have any fear or faith, but I like you and this coin will bring good times for you.”
The dwelling place of Srikantayya was a small compound; a small room and a small kitchen with a passageway. I went home and told my mother what had happened and she was extremely happy. She said “You are very lucky” I brushed it off and remarked, “Do not be taken by this Brahmin boy, He is just acting out, it’s all fake”
My mother became very angry and she pinched my thigh very hard, so much so that it started bleeding. She said that He has blessed you with a coin, you have seen with your eyes what He can do, still you are unable to understand how lucky you are; you are behaving like a fool and not understanding. Later on in your life you will be greatly benefited. You call Him Satya, but actually He is Parama Pujya Swamiji. Later on in your life you will see Him as Krishna, Lord Venkateswara….. She further said that He has come down on this earth to benefit humanity. Whosoever and whenever anyone asked Him for anything, He has to fulfill their needs, Leave your mentality of foolishness, you should believe in Him and His divinity.
After listening to my mother’s words I went to Srikantayya’s house in the evening. By that time, a group of people from Parvathi Konda near Gundalpet came to see Swamiji. They had already heard about His divinity and that He was a man of mysticism. At the same time group of Marwari people came and they spread a bed sheet in front of His Feet. They offered fruits, did namaskaram and left. Swamiji called me and when I went close to Him and said “Yes Swamiji” I didn’t call Him Satya anymore and informed my mother that the word ‘Swamiji’ came to my lips unexpectedly. When I called Him “Swamiji” He looked at me and smiled. He asked me to gather the fruits and put it away, but I should keep the bed sheet with me. He said “From hereafter I need you; you should be standing by my side always.”
There were three other people with Him; a Brahmin, a Lingayat, a Shudra and me, a Naidu. We were given permission to stay at that place. I was the only one to receive the bed sheet from Sri Swamiji. This time the Parvathi Konda people came forward and invited Sri Swamiji to visit their place. They wanted to do Pada Puja to Sri Swamiji in their temple. After they left, Sri Swamiji said we will go there tomorrow, but before that we need to whitewash the walls of the ashrama. He asked the boy, Ashoka, to paint the walls, but he hesitated and stammered something, Next He asked Parashiva Murthy, he also acted in the same way, then next He asked me and I agreed.
He handed me a five rupees note, which in those days was quite a sum. He said “Go and buy the lime needed for white-washing in the morning.” The next day morning I woke up early, went home, took my bath and told my mother about Sri Swamiji’s instructions. I was also concerned about the white-washing as this would make my hands blister as was told by Parashiva Murthy and Ashoka. When I told my mother about this she came up with a solution. She said “If you apply castor oil on your hands nothing would happen to your skin, by doing this job for Swamiji you would be blessed.”
After breakfast I went to the market to buy the lime and other supplies, all this cost only one quarter of a rupee. I then went to a nearby shop and bought a dosa, bonda and coffee for myself which cost me another three quarters rupee. After this I went back to Kesare and returned three rupees to Sri Swamiji. I kept one rupee for myself. When I returned the money, Sri Swamiji knew fully well what I had done. I gladly did my job of painting the room. Sri Swamiji appreciated my work and was very happy, this boosted my morale and I boasted to the others about my work; how I fulfilled Sri Swamiji’s wish,
The next day we all went to Parvathi Konda and the function went very well. There I came up with the Jaikara of “Ganapati Satyananda Swamiji Ki Jai,” When we returned to the ashrama, a lady, Nagavenamma, came and offered her respects to Sri Swamiji, she belonged to the family of Nandi Basappa. He was a very popular and rich man in Mysore; well known to everyone as being a successful businessman.
After becoming Sri Swamiji, nowadays He had an unusual glow in His face; He was young and He had an abundance of thick black hair. His forehead was smeared with vibuthi; He looked like the young and vibrant Bala Shiva. This lady was very drawn to and liked Him. She revered Sri Swamiji because of His young age and brilliance. He always had a pleasant smile on His face, He had a graceful way of walking, and sitting calm and collected.
Another lady, Jayamma, used to come to the Kesare ashrama every Sunday. Jayamma was the daughter-in-law Nandi Basappa. She was married to Nagappa. One day she came and requested, “Dwarka, I want Swamiji to come to my home, please convey this message to Him.” In those days I used to be an active volunteer, everyone who came to Kesare ashrama knew me by my name; I agreed to convey her message to Sri Swamiji. During the next week, one day Sri Swamiji woke us up around 11:30 pm; three of us were sleeping together in the veranda. If it rained the water would splash inside the veranda. Sri Swamiji suddenly decided to go to Nandi Basappa’s house. He told me “Take you bike and go to Nandi Basappa’s house; tell Jayamma that I am coming to their house
To go to Vontikoppal, you had to pass through a bamboo bazaar and there was a big burial ground near to that place. It still exists till today. It was not fenced and there were no lights; it was really scary for anybody to go through the area. After 7:30 in the evening, nobody would go near their place. I took my bike to go on my errand, I asked the other two to accompany me, but they refused, from Kesare ashrama to their house was about four kilometers. When I reached Jayamma’s house, I shouted Jayamma several times. The watchman came out and asked me what I wanted; I told him that I needed to talk to Jayamma.
By then Jayamma came out asked, “Dwarka, what’s the matter?” I told her “I have conveyed your message to Sri Swamiji and He has agreed to visit your house, He has sent me here to inform you”. Jayamma was very happy to hear that, she woke up the car driver who was sleeping there, I put my bicycle in the trunk of the car and we headed for Kesare. I told Sri Swamiji that I did whatever He wanted me to do. Immediately as we returned, Sri Swamiji wanted to leave for Jayamma’s house, I accompanied Him, but the others did not. When we got there, they looked after us very well and we spent the rest of the night there and the next three days in Jayamma’s house.
There were several people who came close to Sri Swamiji by doing service. There was a die maker in the Java factory, Jeevan Singh, Dr. Anasuyamma and Nagappa Shetty of Jayalakshmi Mart; they were like the pillars when the ashram was started, regarding expenses, they consulted with each other and informed Sri Swamiji about it. I was responsible for conveying this message to Sri Swamiji; I used my bike for this purpose. Jayamma was the first person to be actively involved in doing service to Sri Swamiji. After He became Sri Swamiji, He was very kind to all those who served Him. He actually served food Himself to the devotees; in fact it’s very difficult for me to talk about it.
Every Sunday Sri Swamiji used to do Homa in the Kesare ashrama. The Poornahurti would take place at 12 noon and it was celebrated in a very grand manner. After that He would give a discourse and sing bhajans. He would also sing bhajans on Thursdays and these functions were attended by very large crowds of people. On these days, vendors selling food items and fruits would come and sell their goodies. On these days, Sri Swamiji would wear a garland, but this garland used to be small, I personally feel that this was not appropriate. First of all He was my friend, Satyanarayana, then He became a priest and now He had become a Swamiji. I thought He should be honored more and He should be wearing a huge garland,
I did not have money to purchase flowers for a big garland and I could not ask Him for the money either. There was a huge garden full of basil plants nearby the pond where we used to immerse Lord Ganapathy. I used to go there with my friends, in the night, and pluck the leaves so that I can have a big garland made for Him. Sri Swamiji used to look so radiant and majestic with those garlands that it was beyond explanation. However, the owner of the field found out about us and came to make a report to Sri Swamiji. Sri Swamiji scolded us and reprimanded us for our truancy. We tried to apologize, but He only got angrier. The following Sunday, all the takings from the Harati plate was given to the gentleman for his loss. The amount in the plate was many times more than the loss he suffered.
Around the same time, people had started inviting Sri Swamiji to their homes for Pada Puja. I used to take Him to different houses on my bike. I used to pedal the bike and He would be sitting in the back. Sri Swamiji used to carry His dhoti in a bag and when we travelled He wore pants or pajamas. He would change into His dhoti when we reached the person’s house. After the Pada Puja, Sri Swamiji would sing bhajans and then we would return to the ashrama. These house visits for Pada Puja’s went regularly for quite some time. I am grateful to Sri Swamiji for providing me this opportunity to serve Him during those days.
I used to feel discomfort seeing Sri Swamiji having to sleep on the ground. I converted the bathing place into a sleeping place for Him and placed a makeshift bed for Him to sleep on. There was a biscuit factory close by so I went and brought six big biscuit tins. I placed three tins on either side and covered it up with a thick plank of wood; this became like a cot for Sri Swamiji to sleep so He need not sleep on the ground. We requested our neighbor to let Sri Swamiji use their bathing area and they readily agreed to do so; in turn they used their neighbor’s bathroom.
One day a person named Thammayya came from Bangalore to see Sri Swamiji and they developed a close relationship. Later, he came and requested Sri Swamiji to come to Bangalore to his place so that he could do Pada puja. Sri Swamiji accepted and all of us went to Bangalore in an open jeep brought by Thammayya. The function in his house was a great success and after this people in Bangalore also became acquainted with Sri Swamiji.
Once, Mr. T Choudayya, the world famous violinist came and met Sri Swamiji who appeared to him as Balasubramanya. Also Jayamma felt and could see Bala Shiva in Sri Swamiji, so He appeared differently to different people. Once more, as requested by Thammayya, we all went to Bangalore, there was a huge crowd waiting to have the darshan of Sri Swamiji; the fame of Sri Swamiji was spreading fast in Bangalore. Now many people started requesting Him to visit their houses for Pada Puja. One day after the morning puja in Thammayya house, at about 5.00 am, Choudayya started playing the violin. He played difficult ragas melodiously. Sri Swamiji really enjoyed this very much. Meanwhile, in Mysore the number of people attending the homa ceremony increased and the place we had was insufficient.
Sri Swamiji had started doing the Homa any day, anytime and anywhere, even in His bedroom. He would not take help from anyone. With a quarter of a rupee, one could buy lot of ghee; we used to cut the dry twigs from the Peepal tree for the homa. The Poornahurti was offered with red cloth and a white dry coconut; all these things cost about another quarter of a rupee. We all were happy to witness these divine plays of Swamiji.
As days went by people coming for the homa increased by leaps and bounds. The KEB colony had restrictions regarding outsiders getting into their premises. They asked us to control the crowd; they also realized that it’s not possible to restrict the incoming flow of people eager to witness the Homa function. One day a person popularly known as Sahukar Chennaya, a very wealthy person, came to Kesare and performed Pada puja. He then invited Sri Swamiji to his home and performed Pada puja there also. Later, he offered a piece of land as a gift to Sri Swamiji, where our Ashrama exists today. Sri Swamiji bought a bike for me to commute between Kesari and the new piece of property.
There was a lady name Ponnamma who lived behind the present Venkateswara temple, she had a small house and he earned her livelihood by selling turmeric and bananas which she grew in her yard. After she saw Sri Swamiji she developed lot of respect for Him, so she offered a ten-foot by ten-foot room to Him. There was no electricity at that time; we took a bottles filled with kerosene, made a wick out of rolled cloth and light the wick; this was the lamp with which we used for three months.
During those days I was very fond of attending drama functions. I used to be crazy about dramas, I would go away for the whole day to see the drama and return in the evening. Sri Swamiji used to wait for me to take food; someone used to bring food in a carrier. I would ask Him “Why have you not eaten your food?” He would reply “You are coming so late so I didn’t know whether you have eaten or not.” When I think back, I should not have done this to Him.
One major quality of Sri Swamiji was; whosoever came to Him with faith, He blessed them and gave them vibuthi as prasadam. This vibuthi would be very beneficial to them. If someone came without faith or with a doubt and acted otherwise, He would also act out like in a drama. Even today I am seeing Him doing the same actions.
When we moved into these premises it was a wilderness with trees, shrubs, uneven ground across and with no fence. In the course of time we put up a temporary shelter. Near the present prayer hall and Guru Nilayam there is an Audumbara tree. Near this tree Sri Swamiji had His earlier living quarters. Homa, discourses and puja’s would take place in front of this quarters. The ashram activities started with many yoga classes, bhajan sessions and discourses. A canteen was also started. Every Thursday and Sunday Sri Swamiji used to sing bhajans and give a discourse. Lots of devotees used to come to attend these functions. People were scared to travel to come and go to the ashram after dark because the pathway used to be deserted with no lights. Since there was no electricity, five of us would escort the devotees with petromax lights up to the circle near the convent and return.
Sri Swamiji’s fame was spreading far and wide. Just as the illumination of the sun and moon rays benefit everyone, equally Sri Swamiji’s blessings spread everywhere and to everyone. The number of devotees that were coming increased. It’s not possible to describe this phenomenon. Also Sri Swamiji used to celebrate Shivaratri in a big way; at least ten thousand people used to attend this function and stayed overnight to participate.
There was a big Shiva Linga in the ashram; how this Shiva Linga came to be in the ashram is also a very interesting incident. There is a place called Rathnagiri near Hunsur, which is about forty-five kilometers from Mysore. Once, Sri Swamiji had a dream of Lord Shiva where Lord Shiva was telling Him about a Shivalinga being in Rathnagiri. He was told that He should take the Shivalinga from there, bring it to the ashrama, install it and offer worship to it. A devotee from Madras had presented a fiat car to Sri Swamiji for His personal use.
Together with Sri Swamiji, some of us went to Rathnagiri in this car. When we got there Sri Swamiji pointed out to the place where the Shivalinga can be found. After digging that area for some time the Linga became visible. After a while, we brought that Linga in a bullock cart. This Linga is the same ‘SACHCHIDANANDESWARA’ that all of us are witnessing today in the ashram. The next step was to install this Linga in the ashram, Sri Swamiji wanted eleven persons to go to Paschima Vahini and bring Kaveri River water in the big water pots. He gave strict instructions to be followed by all of us. We left by the 11 o’clock train that night and reached the place by 12 midnight. We slept in the shelter, on the river bank, and got up at 4.00 am, took a bath in the river, fill up the water pots with fresh flowing water and carry them on our shoulders to the ashram.
For the return trip, we had to walk the distance back. We were instructed that if anyone got tired or spoke a single word while carrying the pots, they had to empty the water and carry only the empty pot.. As far as I know, this procedure of bringing water from the Kaveri River continued for another five years.
With His Blessings I was the first to arrive at the ashram with the water pot. At that time there was no Hanumadwara as it is today. When we entered the ashram premises the musicians playing the Nadaswara welcomed all of us carrying the water and we walked behind them. Sri Swamiji would receive the water pots personally from us. He would make all of us sit in front of Him and serve us Khara-bhaat and kesari-bhaat which He Himself prepared in larger quantity, very lovingly. We were really very fortunate to have these experiences; it was all due to our previous good merits or punya.
Around this time, a person named Ramesh was serving Sri Swamiji totally. Ramesh was looking after the administration of the ashrama. Devotees coming from neighboring states were increasing. People were getting to know the divine personality of Swamiji. Sri Swamiji started playing different types of musical instruments; He started composing many bhajans and Divya Nama.
The Maharaja of Mysore used to encourage all types of arts and music; they enjoyed and encouraged this very much. Similarly, Sri Swamiji was reviving this tradition in our ashram. He was always advising devotees to have faith in God: be it Datta, Venkateswara or any other god, He used to say, “Be good, have faith in god, believe in other human beings, be kind, have peace of mind and do not have wrong feelings about others. You may not have faith in me, but don’t you have faith in Datta or Venkateswara? Do not lose faith in God.”
His messages were not only for the people of Mysore, but also to everyone who came to the ashram; should they be from foreign countries or any other state. When people came to the Ashrama, He used to urge them to do seva for the betterment of people in general and for the peace of mankind Sri Swamiji had performed millions of Homa and Yagna and we have been fortunate to witness these, since during the days of Kesare. I have been of assistance in terms of decoration and puja supplies; He has given me this opportunity to serve Him in this respect even till today.
There is a special rock in the Venkateswara Temple. Once, when we were returning from Mekedatu we came across a big rock on someone’s property. Sri Swamiji could see and feel a powerful light or jyothi in that rock. He requested the landowner to give Him that rock, but the landowner asked for one half lakh rupees for it. He told the landowner, “This is of something that is of no use to you, it is something that is connected with God and it is Holy. I will give you fifty thousand rupees for it.” However, the landowner did not want to strike a deal so we left for Mysore. Soon afterwards, the landowner started seeing a very scary and ferocious picture in this rock, so much so that he was scared to go even near it. He came to the ashram and begged Sri Swamiji to take away the rock away for just one rupee. He said “I am sorry, I did not understand your divinity, please take the rock.”
Sri Swamiji engaged a twenty wheeler truck to transport this rock from Mekedatu to Mysore. It took almost three days to arrive in Mysore. When the rock arrived in the ashrama, the chassis of the truck broke. Sri Swamiji paid the truck owner quite a sum of money for the repair work, even before the truck driver asked the amount. In those days there was an enclosed place for the deer. There was an engineer, Krishna Iyengar in the ashram. The rock that was lying near the deer park had to be shifted to where the temple construction was going on for Lord Venkateswara. Sri Swamiji’s wish was to install this rock near Venkateswara temple.
Krishna Iyengar got a group of workers from Tamil Nadu and another group from Andhra Pradesh, but neither group could accomplish the work. Another person from Walla, a town near to Mysore, came and brought a crane to do the job. He was given an advance of one thousand rupees. However, when the crane was lifting the rock from the ground the chain broke. Then Sri Swamiji asked Krishna Iyengar “Did you ask Dwarka about this work?” Mr. Iyengar said “Dwarka may not be able to handle this job so I have not informed him.” Sri Swamiji said, “Tell Dwarka that I want him to do the work.”
With this command, Krishna Iyengar came, put his arms around my shoulder and said, “You always help out around here with decorations for the ashrama and deities. However, this is a different kind of job; you may not be able to do it.” I asked him “What did Sri Swamiji say; just tell me that.” He said, “Sri Swamiji said to tell Dwarka and this job will be done.” I said, “If He says that, it will definitely happen.” At that time, I was the secretary for ‘Railways Employees Cell’. I was still working and very active in this group and I knew lot of people. There was a senior railway official with whom I had very good contact. I narrated this problem of moving the rock as I had a good relationship with him, this senior officer telephoned the district engineer and told him, “I am sending a person, Dwarka, to you. He will explain the work that needs to be done. After evaluating his problems and needs, please assist him.”
When I explained the situation to him, he said, “I will give you some rails and about eight to ten persons who have accumulated leave to help you, I will sanction their leave so they will be able to help you with your work.” I told the senior railway officer about the conversation and he was glad to hear this. He asked me to go back the next day itself to the district engineer and collect the required supplies and the people who would be working. It was only with Sri Swamiji’s grace that this was made possible. it took eleven days to accomplish this task, however, when the rock reached the temple premises Sri Swamiji came; He was very happy, He patted me on the back and said ” I knew you could do this work” I replied “Swamiji it’s you who have got this job done not me.” He just smiled and left.
Once the rock was brought into position, Krishna Iyengar was confident that he can use his team and straightened the rock in an upright position and Swamiji said okay. I rewarded the workers and sent them away. Mr. Iyengar brought some new people to straighten the rock, but one look at the rock, they decided that they couldn’t do the job and left. Sri Swamiji said, “I have told Krishna Iyengar not to let the workers leave till the job is finished, but he didn’t listen to me; now we are in trouble. Dwarka, would you please call the same people to complete the job.” I brought those workers back to the ashram, when they came they said, “It’s a difficult job, you need heavy jacks to position the rock in place.” I went and searched in different scrapyards and finally I found one. The scrap yard people gave me some ideas as to how to accomplish the job. He gave me an opportunity to serve Him and make my name known to all. This was a rare and wonderful accomplishment. Sri Swamiji was very happy to see the job finished in a nice way; He expressed happiness and showed appreciation.
Whenever Sri Swamiji visits, He gives opportunities to devotees who truly want to serve Him. We have not physically seen any form of God, brahma, but in the current time we are seeing Sri Swamiji. With His grace, devotees are blessed with good things; we are experiencing His benevolence. During the Shivaratri celebrations Sri Swamiji used to climb down into the Homa Kunda that used to be burning with live, ferocious flames. However, He has stopped that practise, because of His own reasons. He is divine; He is definitely the Datta Avataram. Because of our previous good merits we have secured this bond of being with Him
All of Sri Swamiji’s actions are geared towards the betterment and welfare of humanity and peace in the world. Most of the time He comes up with new ideas to put into action regarding this, we are always surprised to see Him during these times. In 1984, Sri Swamiji decided to go to Badrinath; He gave permission for five persons from different states to accompany Him on this trip. There was a group of about eighty people; we all took bath in the Brahma Kunda and then started our journey towards Kedarnath. The trek to Kedarnath was full of ice and snow. Sri Swamiji advised everyone to hire a horse as the journey was long and hard. If anyone got tired enroute, they cannot get a horse in middle of the journey. Some were confident that they could climb without any kind of assistance.
Sri Swamiji sat in a doli and He handed me a carrier to carry. He gave me lots of almonds which I put in my pocket; I was eating them one by one while climbing. After almost three kilometers, Sri Swamiji wanted me to look back and check for the other devotees; I was surprised to see everyone on horseback. I informed Him about this and He just smiled. After some distance He wanted to stop so they lowered the doli. He asked me to give fifty rupees to doli bearers so that they could eat something and take a rest. Then He walked towards the forest and took me along with Him.
First I was unable to understand why I was chosen to accompany Him and I was also scared. The next moment I thought that I was going with Sri Swamiji, so why should I be scared or worried, I asked Him where He was taking me and He replied, “Just come along with me without questioning.” We went a little bit further and came upon three waterfalls side by side. There He told me to stop and stand where I was. He continued further towards the waterfalls. He sprinkled water on His head and drank some with His cupped hands. He then sprinkled some water on me too saying that these waterfalls are Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwarah; this is where they did their meditation and tapas. He asked me to drink some of the water also. I was very pleased to hear this and I wanted to run and tell others about this. However, He stopped me from doing this. He said, “You are the only one who has come with me; they are not destined for this.” When we returned back the doli bearers were fresh and energized after the food break,
Renee, a lady from France and an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji had come on the trip. She had a lot of faith in Sri Swamiji and served Him all the time for she understood His personality. She had gone ahead and reached a guesthouse en route to Kedarnath before us. There she made proper arrangements for the arrival of Sri Swamiji beforehand. When we reached there, we realized that she had caught a real bad cold; outside it was all ice and snow. Sri Swamiji called me and asked me to hand over a bag which I was carrying. In the meantime, Renee collapsed on the ground, Sri Swamiji wanted me to go and see what was wrong with her, but I couldn’t make out anything.
Hari and Ramesh were also with me. When I checked again it looked as though she was not breathing. I rushed to Sri Swamiji and said, “I think that this lady has expired.” He said “What are you saying” so I repeated the words again. At this point, He got annoyed and taking vibuthi out from the container, He poured some into our hands and told us to rub inside her palms and the sole of the feet real hard with it. After sometime she came around, gained consciousness and opened her eyes. Sri Swamiji then said, “Now what? Do you see that she is okay.” Seeing and hearing this we were totally taken aback and surprised. Previously, when we saw her, her whole body was cold and she was not breathing. Because of her faith in Him, Sri Swamiji brought her back to life. He protected her quickly. Krishan Kumar, an ardent devotee of Sri Swamiji had a brother who was a pilot. With his help Sri Swamiji made arrangements for Renee to reach Delhi quickly.
Later, we had the darshan of Lord Shiva and everything went very well. While we were returning, Sri Swamiji again stopped the doli bearers after we had already stopped twice. When I went to check on Him, He was shivering with high fever. I was scared to see Him like that. He had a small thermos, and He asked me to go and get some hot coffee in this thermos. It was very common to find coffee and tea vendors selling their goodies. I went and brought hot coffee for Him and after drinking it He stopped shivering. When we descended to the foot of the hills, a lady from Vijayawada thanked Swamiji for protecting her from the cold and fever; then He looked at me and smiled.
All the time, Sri Swamiji had taken upon Himself the suffering of His devotee. In 2004, one day I had to work on night duty. I had a heavy dinner and on my way to the work, on my motorbike, when I reached the railway station circle I took the wrong side of the circle to make a round-about turn. A vehicle from the opposite direction collided with my bike and I injured my right leg; it was bleeding profusely. Somebody pick me up, admitted me to the hospital and stayed with me the whole night. Even till today I do not know who that person was and I have never seen him again. Dr. Nityananda, a devotee of Sri Swamiji performed the operation and put a rod in my leg. He said that as this was a major fracture, I had to keep my leg in a raised position for twelve to fifteen days without moving.
Sri Swamiji phoned me and said He wanted to see me. He told the doctor to start the physiotherapy session on the fifth day. On the seventh day He asked me to come to the Narasimha temple, so I could see Him there. I travelled by car to the ashram and when I was at the temple He came in and gave me a big hug. I don’t know if it was through my good merits or my parent’s blessings that I have received such love and affection from Him. Afterwards, He told me to go straight home. I followed His instructions and went home. Soon afterwards I started going to work using a walking stick; my recovery itself is a miracle.
Once, during the Brahmotsava and Sri Swamiji’s birthday celebrations, I got serious chest pains; earlier I also used to get pains in the chest. I thought that because I was eating in the canteen at odd hours I was having some pains due to the gastric problem. I went to Dr. Rajagopal, a cardiologist, for a checkup. He thoroughly checked everything and said there was no problem, but on the day of Sri Swamiji’s birthday, the pain became severe. At that time Sri Swamiji was offered a veena.
Again I went to Dr. Rajagopal for a checkup, but he asked me to go and get checked the next morning. After the angiogram he said that three arteries were blocked to about 95%. He was amazed that I was still being so active; riding a motorbike and working. He said that it was Sri Swamiji’s blessings that I was able to do all this. He gave a letter to Dr. Shivkumar, the railway company’s doctor and immediately surgery was performed. Dr. Rajagopal informed Prasadi about the operation and I asked him not to inform Sri Swamiji until after the operation. I was confident and had full faith in His protection.
The operation was successful and the doctor thought my heart was pretty strong to have handled that kind of problem. When He came back from a foreign tour and I was discharged from the hospital, Sri Swamiji wanted to see me, He asked me to meet Him. When I went there, He put His arms around me and talked to me very lovingly then He hugged me very hard and we were locked in a tight embrace. He told Agastya to take a picture of us and He became very emotional and I also started crying. Sri Swamiji talked with me for some time and later I travelled with Him to the Vaishno-Devi temple.
Before starting He asked Dr. Rajagopal if I was ready for travel. The doctor said that it was okay if it was done after six months. From Katra I flew and last four Kilometers and everyone had to walk. With His grace I was able to have the darshan of Vaishno-Devi’s yatra. Sri Swamiji performed Srinivasa Kalayana and narrated its story in detail in a very simple language. Sometime He would narrate it on a funny way and sometimes very serious. The way He told the story, even a dull-headed person could understand and it will touch their hearts. I made a request to Sri Swamiji that I wanted to perform a ritual to take away the negative influence of other people towards Him. He okayed it and said, “God has showered you with good health, go ahead with it. Perform it within the next three days, once the Yagna was over.
Whenever we offer something to Sri Swamiji we usually calculate and give it to Him. If we have five thousand rupees, we probably will donate about one thousand rupees. Most of us think about ourselves first then give or part with it. Sri Swamiji is divinity personified. Millions of people have benefited from Him. I am reminded of my mother’s words when she told me that I will be able to see Sri Krishna, Dattatreya and all the gods in Sri Swamiji. When I go to see Him I am thrilled and eager to be able to see Him. My desire to see Him always overpowers me. When I do the Jayakara of Govinda, I always see Him in the place of Lord Venkateswara; people may not believe me when I say this.
After moving to the new place, Srikantayya remained for a short time in Kesare and later joined the Mysore Ashrama. Onr day, for somr undiscussed reasons, he left and went away. No one knew where he went or where he was. Beause of the relationship they shared, Sri Swamiji used to miss him dearly. Once, Sri Swamiji called me and with tears in His eyes He said, “Dwarka, won’t you go and find my friend, I miss him a lot.” I went to find him, but I couldn’t see him anywhere. I came back and informed Sri Swamiji. When I saw the sadness of Sri Swamiji’s face, I told Him to give me fourteen days and I will bring him here. I took my motorbike and search all over for him, but he was nowhere to be found. Days were passing by and I had no luch in finding him. I became desperate and said to myself that if I don’t find him, I wouldn’r go back to the ashrama.
I continued searching through all the streets of Mysore and surrounding areas. At about 2.00 pm on the fourteenth day, while casually riding and searching, I saw the back of a person that looked much as the old man. I hurried and met up with him and lo and behold! It was him, I have found Srikantayya. I told the old man that Sri Swamiji was missing him and He wanted to see him. However, Srikantayya was saying that he won’t go and was trying to give an explanation. Srikantayya was a small man, less than fifty kilograms in weight. On the other hand, I was almost three times that. I told him if he doesn’t come with me, I will place him over my shoulder and take him there. Finally, he decided to come with me.
When we entered into the ashrama and Sri Swamiji saw us, both He and Srikantayya began crying and they hugged each other. That spectacle brought tears to everyones’s eyes. Sri Swamiji was so happy to see him and they sat and spoke to each other for a long period. Later, Srikaantayya was given a room in the ashrama and he lived out his life in the close proximity of Sri Swamiji. In this way, Sri Swamiji showed that He would always take care of His devotees.
Many devotees whose lives have been touched and blessed by Sri Swamiji come to this beautiful ashram frequently and repeatedly. I have seen thousands of devotees like this coming with full faith. When devotees come to Him they will never be disappointed, instead they will reap only good results; this is sure to be the truth. If a person praises God with a clear and pure heart, He gives him pure intellect; this is the truth. It’s very difficult to come across such a divine being and have that close connection or bond with Him. It’s our good fortune from the merits earned in our previous lives. God Himself has incarnated in the form our Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji; we are all taking shelter under His divine feet. I pray to Him to keep Sri Swamiji with us for hundreds of years; I want to continuously do seva to Him for ‘He is God’ Jaya Guru Datta
Sri Swamiji Says:
We need to do puja to develop concentration. You should remember that. Yes. God is everywhere. He is in all forms. He is also formless. In order to realize the formless God, it is essential that we begin by worshiping God with a form and attributes..